Hand applique and embroidery

How do you applique a two sided quilt?

You think, think, plan, think some more, plan again and then finally jump in and do it.  That kinda describes the process I went through when contemplating the idea of embroidering an identical tree on both sides of a quilt.

Idea #1

  •  adhere light weight fabric adhesive to the back of two pieces of fabric for the tree trunks
  • draw the tree trunk onto the fabric and cut out two identical trees
  • adhere the tree to one side of the quilt and baste in place
  • adhere the tree on other side and then machine embroidery through all layers of the quilt and tree
  • machine quilt the details onto the tree
  • Concern – machine quilting will cause the quilt to be “flattened” and lining up the edges of the tree on each both sides of the quilt would be difficult

Idea #2

  • baste stitch the outline of the tree onto the quilt
  • cut out fabric to match the tree
  • use needle turn embroidery to stitch the tree onto each side of the quilt
  • machine quilt  the details onto the tree
  • Concern – it might be difficult to control the amount of fabric involved while doing hand embroidery

Idea #3

  • pin large pieces of the tree fabric to both sides of the quilt
  • machine quilt the tree details onto the tree
  • trim the fabric approximately 5/8″ – 3/4″ away from quilting details
  • use needle turn embroidery to stitch the fabric to the quilt
  • This was ultimately the idea I decided to use for the trees, sun and moon

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Daytime detail:

I decided to hand applique leaves onto the daytime side of the quilt.  To do this, I pinned pieces of green fabric onto the quilted tree.  Then I machine quilted the outline and veins of a leaf onto each piece of fabric.  After cutting around each stitched leaf, I used needle turn embroidery to secure the edges of the fabric.

Nighttime detail:

I did not want to use the same technique on the nighttime side of the quilt. So, after completing the daytime side, I used the quilting lines as a guide to paint faint green fabric dye onto the leaves and then hand embroidered outlines around the leaves.

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Unfortunately while quilting the leaves onto the daytime side, my long arm machine handles fell off the machine while I was working on a leaf.  When this happened, the needle broke and the broken needle tore the fabric through all layers of the quilt.  This picture shows that even on the backside of the quilt, the broken needle tore the fabric. I was really bummed!

To fix the tear, I could applique a leaf onto the daytime side.  But, how do I fix the tear on the nighttime side.  I could applique leaves on this side as well.  However, that was more applique then I really wanted to do.  And, I had really wanted the two sides of the quilt to use different techniques.  This was really frustrating.

Ultimately, I decided to add a bit more detail to the quilt.  By appliqueing an owl on the nighttime side and a cardinal to the daytime side, I was able to repair the quilt and no one can even tell that the quilt was torn.

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A good repair and some nice details for the quilt! I have added more details to the quilt that were really fun to do.  I will post about those soon.

A two sided quilt – sounds easy, right?

You have probably seen adult coloring books in stores over the past few years.  Meant as a way to unwind from daily stress, these books can take an adult back to their childhood days of coloring.

Since my crafts are my way to relax at the end of a day, I have not purchased any of these coloring books.  I have however, looked at the books in stores.  The pictures are complex and do provide great inspiration for quilting patterns and applique designs.

Last summer, I paged through one of these coloring books with trees.  Each design featured a tree with unique patterns.  Some of the designs had animals in the trees – owls, birds and even cats. One day I may make one of these, perhaps a tree with many different owls appliqued on the branches.

Directly next to the display of coloring books, was a different display featuring paper craft ideas. One idea showed strips of wrapping paper cut and glued horizontally in the background, and featured cutouts of black or white paper animals, flowers or trees as the main object.  Sorry, but I did not think to take a picture of the display. But, it was a really nice idea.

This idea stuck with me, and besides thinking about making some greeting cards with the idea, I realized that a quilt could be made with a similar design.  At the time I first saw the display, my paper craft supplies were buried in the back of my craft storage closet, so the cards would need to wait.  But, I did have lots of fabric that I could utilize for a quilt.

So, I set out to work on my new design.  Many of my batik scraps were blue and green, which would work well for the background of a tree.

Sorting through the fabrics, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a the colors to depict a tree during the daytime, the nighttime, or an unsorted scrappy look.  After playing around with a graphic program, I ruled out the scrappy look because it was too chaotic for my liking.  But, I simply just couldn’t decide which of the other two I preferred.  So, I thought I would try something new and make a two sided quilt – one side with bright daytime colors, the other side with darker nighttime colors.  After cutting 2 1/2″ strips, the fabrics were sewn together with some shorter pieces inserted periodically to add some variation to the background.

Since I had decided to try to make the applique exactly reversible, the quilting the front and back together would need to be done next.  When loading the pieced backgrounds onto my long arm machine, I realized that making a completely reversible quilt was going to be rather difficult.

This year, in particular, my ideas for quilts have been easy in the planning stages, but more challenging when actually sewing.  This quilt was no exception.  On paper, it looked straightforward – sew the strips, load it on my quilting frame and quilt away.  Right!  Actually, wrong.  Lining up so many seams on the front and the back of the quilt prior to machine quilting was definitely not easy.  I discovered that even though my piecing was exact, the number and location of the seams impacted the stretch and movement of the two pieces of fabric.  I ended up having to pin along each seam of the layers to try to get my quilting to look right on both the front and the back of the quilt. IMG_1042

Backgrounds

Once the backgrounds was quilted, I decided to get my least favorite part of any quilt (the binding) done before I  would start work on the appliqued tree.  More on that in my next posting.

Since moving into my newer sewing room, my paper craft supplies are now accessible, so cards can once again be made.  That project will be included in a future post as well.

Color Burst completed piecing.

After several more hours of sewing, the piecing if finally done.IMG_2608

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Close-up of corner
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Close up of Small Burst
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Close up of Large Burst

But the result is awesome!

Some statistics:
Number of blocks sewn:
Red/Orange Blocks = 8 small, 4 large
Yellow/Green Blocks = 16 small, 8 large
Blue/Purple Blocks = 24 small, 12 large
Cream Blocks = 24 small, 12 large
Total = 72 small, 36 large

Number of Piece in Large Starburst:
Red = 36
Orange = 32
Yellow = 56
Green = 80
Blue = 144
Purple = 156
Cream = 156

Number of Piece in Small Starburst:
Red = 40
Orange = 32
Yellow = 48
Green = 96
Blue = 192
Purple = 168
Cream = 212

Total Pieces (not including background) = 1453!

I also pieced together a Doll Quilt – this one has 680 pieces in a 18″ x 24″ miniature quilt.

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The background quilting design for each of these will have a different for each cream section in the design.  The quilting will take me many hours to complete. With everything else I am doing, it may be a few month before I post the finish pictures.

Color Burst, continued

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After piecing together the individual blocks, the fun part began.  Combined to make the starburst rays, the true vibrancy of the fabrics started to show.

The rays were then combined to complete the Burst. Being a scrap quilt, there were many different fabrics used, but very little of each fabric. Tally of different fabrics:

Red: 9 fabrics
Orange: 8 fabrics
Yellow: 7 fabrics
Green: 10 fabrics
Blue: 11 fabrics
Purple: 12 fabrics
Cream: 13 fabricsimg_1249

Color Burst

It has been several months since I posted about quilting.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing, just that I have been working on some time-consuming projects.

One of the projects I am working on is another scrap quilt, this one made with various types of long cabin blocks set into diamond shapes.  The quilt idea was rather easy to design in EQ8, but has proven very tricky to actually sew.

The idea behind the quilt was to make an asymmetrical starburst with half of the star on one side of the quilt and overlapping bands of off white making up the other half of the quilt.  The color scheme incorporated the transitioning through the colors of the rainbow for the starburst.

The log cabin blocks are completed.  There are four red/orange blocks, eight yellow/green blocks, twelve blue purple blocks and twelve cream blocks.

Three of these were not too difficult.  But, the blue and purple blocks were rather challenging with the corner inserts on each side.  This block is also called a Pineapple block, which I have done before in a square form in a Christmas Bed runner.  In the square form, this block just takes a bit more time than a traditional log cabin block.  However, in the diamond form I found this to be very tricky.  Each block had 45 pieces, and I needed to make twelve of them.

I like how the color transitions turned out. Now on to piecing the quilt blocks together.

Overlapping Triangles Quilt and Plate

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“Overlapping Triangles”  twin sized quilt.

Last year, one of the awards I received from the Minnesota State Fair included a gift certificate to  Bear Patch Quilting in White Bear Lake.  So, last fall I drove up to the store to see what to spend my certificate on.  I had some ideas of fabric I wanted, however, when going through the shop I was unable to find anything matching my ideas. Not wanting to drive up there again on another day, I looked around and found some fabric that I liked.  Without any plans for what I was going to make, I purchased two yards of the black fabric and took it home.

Overlapping Triangles Plate
My inspiration.

Several months later, when looking at some fused glass ideas, I came across a plate that I really liked. And, upon thinking about it, I realized it would make a nice quilt pattern as well. So, I went to my computer and came up with an idea for a quilt to make using the fabric.  Using the colors of the black swirled fabric, I designed the quilt to have graduated colorings in the strips.  When designing, I didn’t like the blunt ends of the triangles and decided to angle them.  I also decided to make the triangles overlap.

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My design.

When I went through the fabrics in my stash, I was happy to find that I had enough of each of the colors I selected that I only needed to purchase the black fabric needed.

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Close-up of quilting.

This summer, I finally pulled out these fabrics and started working on my idea. Finishing it in time for the state fair, I decided to enter it and received a third place ribbon.

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MN State Fair Display.

While the quilt was on display at the fair, I made some things to go with the quilt.

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Matching Throw Pillow and Fused Glass Plate.

 

 

 

 

 

Split Blocks – Fun and easy quilt piecing

Sometimes ads come up on my Facebook news feed that catchIMG_1524-2-352x228 my attention.   That happened recently with some fabrics. The offer was for pack of  5″ charm square, 102 pieces in all.  The colors looked so nice and the price was excellent.  So, I purchased a set.  I had no idea what I was going to make with them, and I certainly didn’t need any more fabric.  But, they were just too pretty to pass up.

Once they arrived, I started thinking about the many quilt patterns that I want to try. Since the pack was small 5″ squares, I knew that I couldn’t do anything really fancy with them.  So, I decided to try some “split block” ideas.

Split block techniques involve sewing squares of fabric together, either jelly rolls, 5″ charms or other sizes, and then cutting them along different lines and/or angles to make new blocks.

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The first idea I tried was an Interrupted Four Patch.  This pattern involves sewing the charm squares alternately with a background fabric. IMG_2067

The sewn piece is then cut into strips 1/3 and 2/3 of the  size of the blocks. A contrasting fabric strip is then sewn between each horizontally cut strip. This is repeated with verticalIMG_2069 strips, borders added and the quilting completed.

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The nexIMG_2062t idea I tried was the “Twister”. This pattern also involved sewing the charm squares together alternating with a background fabric.

 

Then the sewn piece is cut at an angle with a template, twisted to make pinwheels, and sewn together.

There are templates in a variety of sizes available for this quilt pattern. But, I really don’t need more templates, so I just drew temporary lines on my 4″ square template and used that.

For this quilt, I did not have enough fabric to make as many pinwheels as I needed.  So, I decided to add pinwheels with quilting.  Kinda a fun way to continue the pattern to a larger size.

Some interesting blocks to try in the future:

  • Disappearing four patch
  • Disappearing nine path
  • Fence Rail

Spring Has Sprung!

It’s April, the birds are singing outside my window, the bulbs are coming up in my gardens and the grass is starting to get green.  So, it’s time to change the decor in my bedroom – a new Daisy Bed runner really added some springtime color.

 

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To make this bedrunner, I used the leftover blue fabric from the backing of my butterfly quilt as the main background.  To supplement the blue, I took out some of my custom dyed fabric samples, generally ones that were trials on different dyeing techniques. For added color, I decided to try out some fabric paint crayons.

A few years ago, I took a class on Shiva Paintsticks and Rubbing Plates.  I enjoyed the class and purchased some supplies.  However, time being in short supply, I really hadn’t used them since completing the class.

This project, I thought would be a good use of the paintsticks to embellish the fabrics that I had in my collection. After a day of painting, I set the fabrics aside for a week to allow the oils in the dye crayons to dry.  The dye pigment was then heat set by ironing the fabric between pieces of brown paper (absorbs the excess oils very nicely).  The resulting fabrics were really interesting.

Triangles were cut out of the fabrics and the border was then made by alternating triangles of blue and color.

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To enhance the bedrunner, daisies and leaves were appliqued onto the center panel. The runner was quilted and the binding added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bounce – a playful quilt depicting the view of a child’s ballpit

As promised, I took some pictures of my quilt.  This is a twin sized quilt.  The scalloped edge along the stitched circles marks the edge of the mattress.  So, when on a bed, the view of the ball pit and the bounce line will be very visible.  The border spaced balls will fall on the overhanging quilt border.

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Quilt Front

Because the background is dark, it is hard to get a good photo that shows the stitching. However, I used a light tan for the backing. Flip over the quilt, and the stitching is very visible.  After finishing the long-arm quilting, I felt that the stitched balls were getting lost in the background and hard to see.  So I added a decorative stitch edging to these stitched circles. I think it really helps make the circles stand out more both on the front, but especially on the back, of the quilt.

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Quilt Back
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Close-up of Stitching

This quilt was a lot of fun to make.  Certainly the most stitch edged applique that I have ever done.  I have so many other ideas for quilts to make.  Time to get sewing again!

 

National Quilting Day

Today is National Quilting Day.  And, how did I spend my day – quilting, of course!

I was actually able to finish a quilt that I started a few weeks ago. The lighting at the time I finished binding the quilt was not adequate to take good photos.  So, I will post the finished photos tomorrow after I am able to take some nicer photos.

However, I did take photos along the way as I worked on this quilt.

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Applique completed
Upholstery
Upholstery Fabric

I have named the quilt “Bounce”. The idea was inspired by the vinyl upholstery fabric on the chairs in the staff lounge at Children’s Hospital Surgery Center.

A little over a year ago, we were also considering this fabric for our office remodel.  When I brought a sample of the vinyl to show our staff, one person commented that it looked like a quilt pattern.

Idea
Design

 

Ultimately we selected a different fabric. But, the idea of making a quilt stuck in my mind. A design was created that took the circles of the fabric and replicated them in an applique pattern that looked like balls bouncing in a ball pit.

This winter, I was able to start working on the quilt. This has been a really fun quilt to make!

Using scraps from previous quilts, I first cut out 124 circles measuring 3.25″.

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These circles were then appliqued onto white cotton fabric using my collection of Gutermann thread (50wt).

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From the appliqued fabric, I then drew and cut circles that overlapped the appliqued circles so that the resulting pieces looked like balls. This double applique approach really made this quilt easier to applique than it appears to be.  Basically I was only having to stitch circles each time, rather than partial circles.

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For the background of the quilt, I kept debating between tan and sky blue.  Then, one day, while looking for backing for another quilt, I found some fabric that looked like denim and thought that would be a nice background.

Final pictures tomorrow….